Joe Alterman – Georgia Sunset
Georgia Sunset, pianist Joe Alterman’s album self-released last May, focuses its attention of what you might want to call minor jazz classics. Sure there is an obligatory glance or two at some hoary standards like the opening trio exploration of “Blue Moon” and the guest appearance of saxophonist Houston Person on “For Once in My Life” and “Moonlight Becomes You.”
Still, it is in tunes like Errol Garner’s “Other Voices,” Johnny Mercer’s “This Time the Dream’s on Me” and Cedar Walton’s gorgeous “I’ll Let You Know” that the real spirit of the album makes itself felt, great pieces from back catalogs that don’t always get to see the light of day as often as one would like. Person, who produced the album, also joins in for a bluesy romp through his own “Snake Eyes” and a toe-tapping look at “The Theme,” a tune penned by Alterman along with Les McCann. The album closes with – talk about the unexpected – an elegant solo treatment of the Bee Gees’ “How Deep is Your Love.”
Alterman is an accomplished pianist with a lyrical touch. Working with Gregory Hutchinson on drums and Reuben Rogers on acoustic bass, he has put together a set with more than its share of magic.
Dave Wilson Quartet – There Was Never
Saxophonist Dave Wilson’s foursome features Bobby Avey on piano, Tony Marino on acoustic bass, and Alex Ritz on drums on his November 2015 release, There Was Never. Wilson leads the ensemble through a varied nine-song set highlighting six original pieces, two rock tunes, and one classic standard.
The title tune based on the standard “There Will Never Be Another You,” is an arrangement that introduces the set’s varied palate as it moves from Afro-Cuban rhythms to funk, to swing, and back to the Latin vibe. “Smooth Sailing” is a spiced calypso feel, while “Master Plan” and the album’s closer “On the Prairie” are free jazz explorations.
Wilson plays soprano sax on “Cassidy,” The Grateful Dead stalwart, and does a lyrical treatment of Brian Wilson’s “God Only Knows.” His tenor work on Gershwin’s “Summertime” is effectively intense, as is Avey’s on piano. All in all, There Was Never is an album with a lot to discover.
Clare Fischer – Out of the Blue
Although pianist/composer Clare Fischer died in 2012, his son Brent has been doing his best to honor his father’s musical legacy. In 2014 there were two wonderful big band albums – After the Rain and Music for Strings, Percussion and the Rest – and then in September of 2015 there came Out of the Blue, a collection of previously unheard recordings of the pianist playing solo and in a variety of small ensembles.
It is a celebration of his exceptional talent, one that showcases his original material like “Love’s Walk,” “Starbright,” and “49 (Larry Ford);” pays homage to his role in bringing Brazilian music to the States with “Amor em Paz,” and concludes with a medley of “Carnaval/A Felicidade/Samba de Orfeu” and jazz standards like “Two for the Road,” “Squatty Roo,” and “Nuages.”
Out of the Blue is a testament to Fischer and his prowess at the keyboard, and from Brent Fischer’s liner notes there is more to come.